Master of Architecture
The Master of Architecture degree is the first accredited architecture degree at a public institution in New England.
The course of study consists of three main components: core requirements, areas of knowledge exploration, and a culminating Master's Thesis. Course offerings are organized around an interdisciplinary curriculum involving faculty and students from architecture, studio art, art history, public history, landscape architecture and regional planning, building construction and wood technology, environmental engineering, environmental sciences, computer science, and management. Students may also take classes through the Five College consortium, including Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith colleges.
In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted a 6-year, 3-year, or 2-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards. Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.
UMass Amherst Architecture Department offers the following NAAB-accredited degree programs:
- M. Arch. (pre-professional degree + 57 graduate credits), typically two years
- M. Arch. (non-pre-professional degree + up to 87 credits), typically three years
- Next accreditation visit for all programs: 2024
Prerequisite requirements for admission to the three-year program are college physics and calculus, although these courses can be taken anytime before graduation. An introduction to architectural history is recommended. Applicants who hold a four-year pre-professional degree in architecture from an institution with an NAAB program (or equivalent), or similar experience, may be admitted with advanced standing and may be able to graduate in two years. The minimum requirement for graduation is up to 87 credits (based on the potential application of prior applicable academic or practical experience) or 57 credits with advanced standing.
Students are required to satisfactorily complete a core sequence in these areas:
- Design courses including Design Studio sequence, digital representation and fabrication sequence, and Master's Thesis sequence
- Technical courses including Building Physics, Tectonics, and Integration
- History and Theory courses including Architectural History, Philosophy, and Research Forum
- Professional Practice
STEM Designation: The Master of Architecture program has received designation as a STEM field under Architectural and Building Sciences/ Technology. This designation permits international students enrolled in the BFA Architecture and Master of Architecture and studying on an F-1 visa to apply for the 24 month STEM OPT extension.